Author Topic: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry  (Read 3393 times)

Sorce

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Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« on: September 09, 2013, 07:22 AM »
So my new goal, is to keep the whole crown of these trees smaller than the largest leaf I can find.

American elm, Hackberry.

 

John Kirby

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 08:53 AM »
The weaker they are, the smaller the leaves will be. Healingcuts will be hard to do, but Suthin had a mame Privet at WBC 2005 with leaves less than 1/4" and a perfectly formed canopy. So with consistency, I believe you can do it.
 

arihato

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 06:32 PM »
I don't really understand what you are trying to do.
Your trees, at least the ones in the picture, are in a stage that you should not be worried about leave size. In this stage the bigger the better.
Leaves are the factories that build your Bonsai.

In the old days, before we knew better, it was usual to keep the trees weak and hungry, with all the adverse consequences it caused.
Now we (I) know trees should be kept healthy and well fed. The healthier a tree the less it is likely to get disease or pests.
Small leaves is something that in my experience (35 years) happens by itself.

Only in the 'final' stage of maintenance is there a consideration toward small leaves. But the tree will do that anyway, if you feed enough, the tree will make more buds, more buds mean more leaves, more leaves mean smaller leaves.

I very seldom see the need to do leave pruning with my trees, once you get ramification you get smaller leaves.
 

Gaffer

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 09:49 PM »
I agree with the preceding comment
It all just happens by itself, if you do what your supposed to do it just happens.
 

Sorce

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 07:58 AM »
Those big leaves are just ones I found. I did defoliated that already weak hackberry because I had to leave it unwatered for four days.

Last year it was infested.  Its a Lot better this year. I would actually love it to be so strong it has leaves that big!
Next year is year three. I think it will be established enough to grow well.

The Elm, year three too. By no means great material. The surface roots are good and radial but new and skinny.

These both are where they get pm Sun, then sit all night in artificial light, I don't think they like it much, but They have no other home right now.

Thanks for the comments.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2013, 09:53 AM »
I always find threads like this interesting. Do folks honestly believe that leaf reduction "just happens" on strongly growing trees? The balancing game in bonsai is how do I give trees the strength and health to survive the manipulations required to bring things in to scale. I don't know why this person wants to develop extremely small canopies on these plants, and have very smallbonsaibut he can do it. Everybody knows that strong growth leads to stronger, healthier, trees in general. But, to dothe things we want bonsai to do we have to weaken trees in a manageable way to make them work right.
 

arihato

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 11:22 AM »
Mr. Kirby, I strongly disagree.
If you weaken the tree it will not produce more buds, it will have smaller leaves though. That's not what I disagree about.
I do not believe, and have the experience to back me up, that it is the only way. The way of strong healthy growth, aided by a good fertilisation program is imo a better way.
35 years of doing Bonsai intensively, mostly growing ShoHin from seed, here leaf size is in the endstage very important to the believable image of a small 'big' tree, have taught me that I can only do the drastic things I do with very healthy vigorous plants.

Ramification produces small leaves. That is a fact in my garden.

The fact that you have to take additional horticultural measures like an adjusted pruning and pinching schedule, is obvious. But a vigorous tree is a healthy tree and will make more buds and more buds mean smaller buds.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2013, 04:05 PM »
Do you understand how decandling works? How about defoliation? How about root pruning?

Yes the tree absolutely must be strong, but these techniques all weaken the tree, that is one of the reasons they work.
 

Sorce

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2013, 09:59 PM »
I'm easily misunderstood, please don't fight over my craziness. I am also diagnosed!
I read Shohin trees are the most difficult. That's how I roll. My goal, thank you John, is possible.
The picture is just amazing, to me anyway. So I share. My goal, has absolutely nothing to do with defoliation.
As noted in other posts, I am a hedge cutter, I believe in strength.

So......

Since I am a literati, a traditionalist, a W.P. understander, and I live in a climate controlled, or better, left uncontrolled by the forces that are the Great Lakes, my trees will be different. The most learned Master Waterer in the mountains of China would throw up his can in attempts to understand watering here in Chicago.

Forgive me, but it is not Bonsai that determines our trees,

   But our climates that determine our Bonsai.

When that is understood, Bonsai can become a worldwide Tradition.

Please argue about my freshly collected burning bush, Looking for helpful direction!
Thanks guys!
 

Anthony

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 10:05 AM »
John,

I am on holidays and just passing through, and I wanted to pass this on. A member on another list gave a simple idea, don't defoliate, just remove the larger leaves. Well it was tested on a local swamp tree, short named, an Oxy.

Today, the shrub has small leaves and many, many more than before.

Will be continuing to test this as times goes by on other trees and see if it keeps happening.
The Oxy, has been kept as healthy as can be, the idea being full sun and great health will give better conditions for more leaves.
There is probably a cut off point genetically.
Good Evening.
Anthony
 

John Kirby

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 11:08 AM »
Anthony thanks. There are many trees that can't take the insult of a full defoliation, or at least are not able to give a predictable successful result. Partial defoliation, removing 1/2 of the leaves, or just the large leaves is frequently used to increase ramification and decrease leaf size. These processes are all stressful and require the tree to be healthy and in good sunlight with good management (especially in a small pot) to give the best results.

How small do you think you could make Clerodendron leaves? I bet pretty small and dense, just with partial defoliation. 10% of normal size? In climates where they can grow prettyich year round, if you protect grom drought etc, how many cycles of leaf removal do you think you could do? Once a month, more? Interesting, how quickly you can make ramification happen in the tropics.
 

Anthony

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Re: Leaf Size, Elm, Hackberry
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 02:19 PM »
John,

with the Oxy, it was just about 20 leaves or so. The result was new and smaller leaves. With the variety of Clerodendron we have [ from Barbados ] leaves are already at 1/2" long 1/4 " wide, and I am not sure what more would be achieved with defoliation. That's 1/2" on the largest leaves.
I believe I left an image of the shrub in an earlier post.

Often if you defoliate during the dry season, the leaves come in much smaller, the gmelina can produce leaves at less than 1/4 of an inch, but the density of leaf can only go so far. Genetic limit.

Defoliation for us is normally done once and during the dry season, even for Seagrapes. In the lifecycle of the Seagrape, defoliation will only occur at the end of the or height of the dry season. There will be normal leaf fall throughout the year. So the cycles in nature are followed, not the normal defoliation practices as might be seen in Miami.

Ramification on our trees, that can ramify, many are leaf dense, not branchlet dense, happens as you grow and clip. For some like the Celtis, standard defoliation is done once and after that, just grow and clip.
I am not sure when you hit the genetic limit, if anything more should be done.

I will respond again as more information comes about. We have a tree called the Fustic [ Maclura tinctoria ] which is showing the ability to work as a Zelkova does, though the idea is to follow this tree's natural shape, and not a wannabe Zelkova.
However, it is still to early to say more.
Good Night
Anthony